Why was the Atlanta and West Point RR a part of the route of the Crescent Limited?

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Why was the Atlanta and West Point RR a part of the route of the Crescent Limited? I understand that the Southern Railway owned this train and when it went south of Atlanta it went down the AWP/WA and then the L&N to New Orleans. Why didn't Southern choose to run it on their own rails? Southern Railway did run the Southerner over its own rails down to N.O. beginning in 1941. I understand that 37 and 38 ran over the AWP up until 1970. What other cars, besides Southern Pullman carswere in a typical consist of the trains 37 and 38 when the train ran on the AWP? Did each of the 5 RR's have through cars all the way? PRR, Sou, AWP/WA and L & N? Thank you for your responses.

-- Scott Schreiber (scottschreiber-rr@att.net), April 25, 2004


With reference to the previous response I prepared regarding the Crescent's passenger cars-here are the lists per my records.

Baggage-Mail cars: WofA 87,L&N 1120,21,Sou 1702,03 P-S 11/49 Baggage Dorm cars: Sou 710,711, L&N 1598 ACF 5/50 L&N 1599 P-S 1955 Baggage-mail car shell for L&N : P-S 1953 52 seat chair car: A&WP 68,69, WofA 106, Sou 815-840(partial), L&N 3250-3252 Budd 9/49 58 Seat replacement cars: A&WP 120, L&N 3252 Budd 9/53 48 Seat Diner: A&WP 501, L&N 2790, Sou 3305-3312 (partial) Budd 9/49 5 double bedrooms/buffet lounge observation: Sou Royal Arch, L&N Royal Canal, Royal Street, WofA Royal Palace. Royal Arch became Luther Calvin Norris in Nov 1950. Royal Palace became Charles A. Wickersham in Sept 1952. L.C. Norris was rebuilt to an 11 double bedroom car in Sept 1958.

1 Master room,2 drawing rooms, buffet lounge: Sou Crescent City, Crescent Harbor, Crescent Moon, Crescent Shores.

10 roomettes 6 double bedrooms-all cars have the suffix "River"- Sou Dan,Catawba,Enoree,Otter,Pacolet,Potomac,Rapidan,Rivanna,Saluda,Senec a, Shenandoah,Tiger,Tugalo,Tye,Yadkin,York

L&N Mobile,Pearl

A&WP Chattahoochee

PRR Birch,Bush,Delaware,Middle,Patapsco,Raritan,Schuylkill,Susquehanna

all above built by P-S 9/49

The cars built in 1953/55 were built as replacement cars for the November 25, 1952 Woodstock AL wreck. Both of the A&WP 1949 coaches were wrecked, as was one of the 1949 L&N coaches, along with a baggage dorm and baggage mail car. One of the Southern's 1941 baggage dorm coach cars was also wrecked.

The L&N and AW&P diners made it to AMTRAK, where they eventually received HEP and became Auto-Train diners 8752 and 8750. The 8550 series diners on AMTRAK, one of which I rode on the Silver Meteor last month, was actually a Southern car-3307 I believe, but the Sou cars were identical with the L&N and AW&P cars.

If you are interested in the ICC report on the Woodstock AL wreck, please contact me and give me your snail mail address. You can also go to the US DOT Library web site, go to the On Line Digital collections, go to the ICC Historical Accident reports and go to 1951-the Southern entry towards the end of the year is the one.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak@mnr.org), April 27, 2004.

Here is Bob Hanson's full answer, which I am posting for him - he is still having computer problems (spelled A-O-L).

The short answer to the question, “Why didn’t Southern Railway operate the Crescent into New Orleans over its own rails?” is: They did have any of their own rails into New Orleans.

The agreement governing the operation of the Crescent predates Southern Railway and the train itself. The contract was drawn up in 1890 between the Richmond & Danville Railroad, the Atlanta & West Point Rail Road, The Western Railway of Alabama, and the Louisville & Nashville Railroad and covered the operation of the Washington & Southwestern Vestibuled Limited, the Crescent’s earliest predecessor train, which began operation on January 4, 1891.

At this time, the Richmond & Danville’s line ran from Washington, DC, to Atlanta and then west via the former Georgia Pacific Railway through Birmingham to Greenville, Mississippi. It was not until the second decade of the 20th century that the Southern acquired the Alabama Great Southern and New Orleans & Northeastern railroads giving it a route from Birmingham through Meridian, MS., to New Orleans. By this time the route over the West Point Route and the L&N was well established and was therefore left intact. When the Southern inaugurated its lightweight diesel-powered Southerner in 1941 it did, indeed, route it over its own rails through Birmingham and Meridian to New Orleans.

The operators of the Crescent all supplied cars for the equipment pool on a pro-rata basis based on the percentage of the train’s route each railroad covered. Therefore, you might see regularly assigned cars from the Pennsylvania RR, Southern Ry, Atlanta & West Point Rail Road, The Western Railway of Alabama, and Louisville & Nashville Railroad on any given train. The lightweight equipment of the 1950 Crescent was lettered in Southern Railway’s lettering style for uniformity of appearance.

I hope this answers the question.

Bob Hanson

-- Larry Goolsby (lgoolsby@aphsa.org), April 27, 2004.

Each of the railroads in the Crescent's route contributed cars. The 1949 order for equipment for this train had cars purchased by all five railroads. SR contributed 10-6 sleepers, sleeper-lounge cars, diners and coaches. PRR contributed 10-6 sleepers, A&WP/W of A contributed sleepers, one diner and three coaches, while L&N contributed a diner and three coaches. I can provide a list later tonight when I can dig out the records-I am working on memory here.

The original equipment order had to be supplemented in 1953 as a result of a head-on collision at Woodstock AL on Nov 25, 1951. The Southerner collided with a re-routed Crescent on a trackage that was just converted to CTC operation. The two AWP coaches were destroyed, as was one of the L&N coaches and a L&N baggage dorm. A Southern baggage dorm was also destroyed.

In later years, the L&N equipment often ran on the South Wind, while the PRR sleepers-named in the River series, ran on the Florida trains.

The A&WP diner survived to AMTRAK-I rode in it on February 29/Mar 1 of this year.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak@mnr.org), April 27, 2004.

Scott - Bob Hanson, the West Point Route expert, is trying to answer your question in detail but is having computer problems today. He told me by phone that the "short version" is that when the Crescent began operating in the late 1800s, Southern did not yet have its own line into N.O. and so used A&WP and L&N, and that routing stayed in place for this train even though SR ran other N.O. trains over its own rails.

-- Larry Goolsby (lgoolsby@aphsa.org), April 26, 2004.

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